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WalthersMainline HO scale covered hopper

Read this review from the July 2017 Model Railroader
WalthersMainline HO cylindrical covered hopper

A 59-foot cylindrical covered hopper has been added to the WalthersMainline family of HO scale products. The ready-to-run car features an injection-molded plastic body with separate end sheets and one-piece end cages. The underbody is a separate piece with freestanding outlet gates and brake appliances.

North of the border. The 4,550-cubic-foot-capacity cylindrical covered hopper was the car of choice for Canada’s government and the Canadian Wheat Board. Over a 13-year period (1972-1985), the two agencies ordered more than 17,000 cars. The provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan also purchased 1,000 and 100 cars, respectively. The covered hoppers were divided almost evenly between Canadian National and Canadian Pacific.

Marine Industries Ltd., Hawker Siddeley Canada Inc., and National Steel Car Corp. (NSC) all built 4,550-cubic-foot-capacity cylindrical covered hoppers. The Walthers model is based on those built by NSC. National Steel Car Corp. produced 59-foot cylindrical covered hoppers from November 1972 until September 1994.

The model. Our sample is decorated as CNWX 109904, part of the 109899 through 110316-series of covered hoppers built for the Government of Canada by NSC in 1983. This covered hopper is a phase 8a car with 13 body panels, 16 running board brackets, sloped jack pads, and angled end panels.

The body, hatch cover hinges and latches, and running board supports are a single casting. The trough-style hatch covers and end sheets are separate castings secured with glue from the inside.

Four screws, two above each truck, secure the body to the underbody. A sheet steel weight is held between the two pieces by these.

The horizontal portion of the end cage is secured to the body with two pins. In addition, the running boards are tacked to the top of the end cage. Gentle prying with a single-edge razor blade or no. 17 blade will separate the glue joint.

The model has see-through plastic running boards. The .020"-thick casting was free of flash in the grating. The corner grab irons are molded.

The paint is smooth and even, with crisp separation lines between the red and black. Lettering placement matches prototype photos in Darrell W. Sawyer’s eBook Freight Cars Illustrated: Volume 3, National Steel Car Covered Hoppers (FCIX, 2006). The model’s dimensions follow drawings in the March 1992 Railroad Model Craftsman.

The Proto-Max metal knuckles are painted black with chemically blackened knuckle springs; the trip pins are unpainted. The couplers are about .030" too low. However, the trip pin clears the front plate on the Kadee no. 205 height gauge, and the couplers engage effortlessly. Styrene shims could be used to bring the couplers to the correct height, but I didn’t have any problems with the car as I pushed and pulled it through the no. 5 turnouts and 18" radius curves.

Walthers has hit a sweet spot with its Mainline-series cylindrical covered hopper. The model may not have the etched-metal running boards and wire grab irons. But this car will stand up to routine handling without shedding parts.

Price: $29.98

Wm. K. Walthers Inc.
5601 W. Florist Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53218

Era: 1972 to present

Road names: First run (trough hatch covers unless noted) – Government of Canada (CNWX and CPWX reporting marks), Canadian Wheat Board (CNWX and CPWX marks), Heritage Fund (ALNX and ALPX marks). Second run – Canadian National (round hatches), Canadian Pacific (round hatches), Pillsbury, Potash Corp. (round hatches), and Saskatchewan Grain Car Corp. (SKNX and SKPX marks). Four road numbers per scheme; also available undecorated.

▪▪36" metal wheels on plastic axles, correctly gauged
▪▪Minimum radius: 18"
▪▪Painted Proto-Max metal couplers, .030" too low
▪▪See-through plastic running boards
▪▪Weight: 5.2 ounces, .3 ounce too heavy per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1
▪▪Wire grab irons

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